Phoenix salvages ‘character-building’ win over Blackwater
Phoenix blew a big lead before holding on for a 107-102 win over Blackwater in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
James White showcased his versatility finishing with 31 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals and five blocks despite playing through foul trouble and a tight hamstring in the fourth quarter.
“Hard win, but I’ll take it. Good character-building win especially that we are playing TNT on Saturday,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas, who also drew a near double-double output from Justin Chua.
The Fuel Masters lost a 22-point advantage but stayed composed down the stretch to hold off the Elite, who pulled even at 98 after three straight triples by Mac Belo with 2:33 to go.
White came up big on both ends of the floor inside the final two minutes. His followup dunk put Phoenix ahead for good, 100-98, and an emphatic rejection on Allein Maliksi led to a three-point play by Willie Wilson for a 103-98 cushion with 1:22 left.
Belo hit nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter alone while Roi Sumang shot a team-high 20 points, all coming in the final frame.
Phoenix held Blackwater import Jarrid Famous to just 19 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field. Famous was coming off a 35-point effort in a loss to Columbian three days ago.
The Elite trailed, 42-20, with still over eight minutes left in the second quarter after their starting big man JP Erram got tossed.
Erram was livid after he thought he got fouled on a shot attempt. He picked up two technical fouls for continuing to argue over the non-call.
Blackwater never led despite having a slew of chances to pull ahead in the fourth quarter.
Chua had 17 points and nine rebounds that went with two steals. Matthew Wright also stepped up in the second half, where he scored 12 of his 19 points.
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